The other day during one of my nonprofit administration classes, my professor brought in a guest speaker who worked in the nonprofit PR field. I was SO excited. A guest speaker doing EXACTLY what I want to do once I graduate!
The guest speaker was hilarious. She told us a lot of funny stories about her experiences with fundraising and various PR campaigns. After story time, she finally started telling us about PR basics; the message, the audience, etc.
When she got to the topic of “the medium” she said something along the lines of, “Social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are useless, one-on-one relationships are the only thing that nonprofit organizations should focus on.”
My jaw dropped. Literally. There I was, in the front row, with my jaw hanging so far down that it almost hit my collarbone. Then she asked our class, “So, what do you all think about nonprofits and social media?”
Usually I just sit in class and I won’t speak unless I’m spoken to first, but when she asked that question I shot my hand into the air so fast I nearly dislocated my shoulder.
What did I think about nonprofits and social media? Well, considering I have a blog dedicated to that exact topic, I had a lot to say about it. After eight minutes of me talking about how great Twitter is for nonprofits, it was obvious that the guest speaker and I had conflicting views on the subject.
I told her that while one-on-one relationships are a key to a successful nonprofit, social media is also a GREAT resource. In the eight minutes I had to speak, I gave her a quick summary of nonprofits and social media. Twitter and Facebook are easy, free ways for people to go learn about an organization, their mission and volunteer opportunities. These sites are also places to publicly acknowledge their donors and volunteers. They are immediate and much easier to update than a website and they allow for a nearly instant two-way conversation as opposed to just static produced on a website.
Her reaction was that nonprofits are organizations with limited time and resources and that social media is just a waste of time that could be spent on making personal, one-on-one relationships.
So what do you think? Should nonprofits care about social media, or is it just a waste of their time?
Photo by andybrannan